Do Mean People Become Racists, or Does Racism Make People Mean?

tulio asks whether racists are naturally mean people or whether outside of their racism, they are pretty nice people. It’s actually a very interesting question:

I was wondering if racists just seem mean when discussing race, but are actually nice people otherwise if you stay away from the topic of race. We concluded that racists tend to just be miserable people period. Their racism is just a natural extension of their overall nastiness.

I learned this through a lot of dealings with them. They just are not very nice people period. However, some of the older ones are pretty nice. Jared Taylor is a nice guy, and so is Ken Hoop, but those guys are older. But those guys are pretty calmed down about race.

We concluded that racists tend to just be miserable people period. Their racism is just a natural extension of their overall nastiness.

I agree that most White nationalist-type racists are just nasty and ugly people period. Mean, specifically, and very angry. That’s why we have to keep banning them here, because they simply can’t seem to control their rage and hatred and they keep breaking the Comments Rules.

And if you hang on their fora a lot, it’s pretty clear after a while how mean a lot of them are.

However, I disagree that their racism is an expression of their meanness. Instead, I think they are mean because they are racist. Racism makes me mean. Period. It seems so obvious and it’s kind of a stupid anti-racist meme (Stop the hate!), but after you’ve been around a lot of them, it’s so clear that it hits you in the face, and it must be true.

Where I have problems is in the cases where you have entirely racist societies like the Old South (indeed, all the US before 1960 or so), Colonial Latin America, the Ottoman Empire, China, Japan, Korea, India and Nazi Germany and its puppet societies. I don’t think societies where racism is simply normative are mean societies. Most people were and are probably pretty nice in those places, unless they are dealing with the Other, in which they won’t act very nice.

I don’t know what life was like in Nazi Germany, but I bet in your average rural German area, most Germans were still pretty nice to each other.

Racism is funny.

So the racism of the White nationalists seems to differ from that of your typical racism-normative society. Which implies that they are pathological persons involved in a pathological movement.

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25 thoughts on “Do Mean People Become Racists, or Does Racism Make People Mean?”

  1. So the racism of the White nationalists seems to differ from that of your typical racism-normative society. Which implies that they are pathological persons involved in a pathological movement.

    That doesn’t make any sense at all.

    So what you’re essentially saying is that if this country were more “racism-normative,” then WN’s would be less pathological.

    So I guess for WN’s to be more normal, the society just has to become more racist, like the examples you listed above.

    By the way, you should do a similar post, only you focus on asshole anti-racists.

    1. Yes. Back earlier in the 20th Century, the views of the White nationalists or White Supremacists were just the more or less normal views of most White Americans. Most of them were not mean people unless they were dealing with the Other.

      But modern day WN’s are not nice people at all like those Whites of old. They are mean as fucking snakes.

    2. To be fair, those Black racists in the Abagondsphere don’t seem like nice people either. They seem really mean and angry, just full of hate. Frankly, they remind me of White nationalists!

        1. I predict BAG will mellow out a bit in the future. Right now he’s like a kid with a shiny new toy. He’s in the honeymoon phase and riding the high from it. He’s thrilled to be “liberated” from white guilt and CRT. And I guess if that’s bogged you down your whole life, it can feel good to cast if off. However, despite whatever one’s feelings are, reality is reality and it exists despite how we react to it. If white privilege exists, it doesn’t matter whether BAG acknowledges it or not, it’s still there and he’s deluded himself into thinking it isn’t there as an escape mechanism from cognitive dissonance.

        2. I predict BAG will mellow out a bit in the future. Right now he’s like a kid with a shiny new toy.

          I’m guessing that wasn’t a dig at my age or supposed lack of maturity.

          Yeah, you’re right about this being a bit of a phase for me. I don’t think I’ll ever become an anti-racist, but I might not be a WN in the future.

          However, despite whatever one’s feelings are, reality is reality and it exists despite how we react to it. If white privilege exists, it doesn’t matter whether BAG acknowledges it or not, it’s still there and he’s deluded himself into thinking it isn’t there as an escape mechanism from cognitive dissonance.

          Well, Tulio, we’ve already had a million discussion on the whole topic of “white privilege,” so there’s nothing to really add, unless I want to go back to old posts and cut & paste what I previously said.

          Let’s just put it this way: My definition of “privilege” is different from the CRT crowd.

          He’s thrilled to be “liberated” from white guilt and CRT. And I guess if that’s bogged you down your whole life, it can feel good to cast if off.

          You’d better believe it. As Robert’s said many times before, white ethnocentrism feels sooo much better than self-hatred.

          I used to be a self-hater. I’ll never go back to that. I guess you could say that me being a white nationalist is a reactionary backlash against my former self-hating days.

          Hopefully I can find a balance in the future.

        3. White self-haters even annoy me. I’d prefer whites not be self-haters or white-ethnocentrists. I may talk about white privilege and CRT, but I don’t say it because I have an axe to grind or because it makes me feel good, I say it simply because I believe it happens to be true. I don’t have any emotions invested in this stuff. In fact I’d like to be wrong. If white privilege is a figment of black people’s imagination, then good. That’s one less social issue to worry about. I just don’t believe that happens to be the case.

        4. I may talk about white privilege and CRT, but I don’t say it because I have an axe to grind or because it makes me feel good, I say it simply because I believe it happens to be true.

          I just find it ironic the way you didn’t even believe in this stuff until Timmy Wise introduced you to it.

      1. One is just mean and paranoid. The other is self righteous and arrogant and has an undeservedly high opinion of itself.

        1. Well, people like Tim Wise are so unappealing to normal people that I don’t think they’re much of a threat. Racists can actually be dangerous and violent people. There are counterexamples, of course. The Weather Underground was pretty insane and violent, but like most people of that type, they were incompetent in real world skills and lacking in physical courage, so the exception proves the rule.

  2. To get all Jungian on you, they’re sort of the shadow sides of right and left wing ideologies.

    Well of course! Exactly! Damn, that’s good thinking. I’d never exactly thought of that either.

  3. Another thing: Since it sometimes makes sense to be xenophobic, while ideologies such as those of Tim Wise make no sense whatsoever, the pathologies typical of racism have a point of entry to pretty much anyone’s innards. It’s like the difference between swearing off food in order to lose weight and swearing off celibacy.

  4. Not a regular reader, so I don’t know how you define “racists.” It’s such a loose term that I don’t even bother with it any more. Your post might as well be titled, “Do mean people become assholes, or does being an asshole make you mean?” It’d make as much sense.

  5. I think a lot of individuals do not default to being racist, but they’ve been burned by letting their guard down that they’ve become paranoid.

    I’m white American, and I had a couple of experiences as a technologist abroad where I’ve been racially excluded by a few men who I thought were my friends. They passed me over for co-ethnics whom they barely knew.

    It ticks me off because I can’t stand the vast majority of white people–all people, really–but I stand no chance as a lone wolf against pack competition. I’d prefer that people could just deal as individuals, but that seems like a fantasy right up there with Heaven.

  6. I don’t know about racists, but as far as Jew-haters go, I don’t think there is any correlation between Jew-hatred and anything else that might be good or bad about the hater in question. Plenty of perfectly nice people don’t care for Jews.

  7. Racist is probably too broad of a term. Bigot might be a better substitution. You can probably be accurately labeled a racist like Jared Taylor and not be mean. You might malign Taylor as a bigot, but it wouldn’t be an accurate label.

    A lot of WNs have a visceral disgust with non-whites, and many are attached to a chic iconoclast image that they culture. WN is largely ineffective because adherents to the cause are ‘mean’, or generally antisocial in just about every definition of the word.

    This whole phenomena doesn’t just extend to racists or WNs though. You can find the same behavior in any sufficiently radical, or fringe group. The feminists of yore are a pretty good example of hate-filled mean people. The radical feminists of today are still fashioned in that mold.

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